The requirements for forming an LLC, or limited liability company, in Alabama are specified in the state’s Limited Liability Company Act. The Alabama secretary of state’s office provides the necessary form online. Unlike most states, Alabama law does not require the initial filing to form the LLC be made with the secretary of state, but rather with a probate court judge. Once approved by the court, the filing documents are forwarded to the secretary of state.
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Download the Articles of Organization form that is used to form a domestic LLC (see Resources).
Complete Article I on the form by inserting the name of your LLC. Alabama law requires that the end of your company name must include either "Limited Liability Company," "L.L.C." or "LLC." Your company name cannot be the same or nearly identical to another LLC or corporation registered with the secretary of state. Determine if your company name is available by using the secretary of state's online service (see Resources).
Complete Article II by inserting the date the LLC will dissolve, unless you intend for it to continue in perpetuity.
Complete Article III by inserting the business purpose for which your LLC is being formed. You can use a general statement that your LLC will engage in any lawful business for a limited liability company.
Complete Article IV by inserting the full name and street address for the registered agent for service of process for your LLC -- this is the person or entity that will receive legal communications regarding the LLC. Under Alabama law, the registered agent must either be an individual who resides in the state, a domestic business or an out-of-state business with an office in the state.
Complete Article V by inserting your name and address, as well as the names and addresses of any other LLC members, if any. If there is more than one member, and only one or some of the members will manage the LLC, insert the names and addresses of the managers in Article VI.
Sign and date the completed Articles of Organization. Make three copies -- keeping one for your records -- and file the original Articles of Organization and the other two copies with the probate court judge located in the county of the registered agent. The filing requires two checks: $40 made payable to the secretary of state and the other payable to the probate judge, which varies by county, but will be a minimum of $35. These prices are current as of November 2010. Contact the judge's clerk to find out the correct amount at the time of your filing. The original Articles of Organization and your fee will be forwarded to the secretary of state's office within 10 days.
Tips & Warnings
Unlike forming a corporation in Alabama, you do not have to reserve your company name with the secretary of state before filing your organizing document.
If you formed your LLC in another state and want to operate your business in Alabama, you must file an Application for Registration directly with the secretary of state.
Alabama prohibits an LLC from transacting business or incurring debt, with the exception of incidental organizing expenses, until the Articles of Organization are filed with the court. Any member of the LLC engaging in pre-filing business activities is personally liable for any liabilities or debts incurred.